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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Parliament Maghreb Committee: Tunisian People deserve a Real Choice on Alternatives in 2019 Votes

EU Parliament Maghreb Committee: Tunisian People deserve a Real Choice on Alternatives in 2019 Votes

Parašė ACM
Thursday, June 14, 2018

 

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*Strasbourg/EU-Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Stressing the Importance of the forthcoming Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in Tunisia on 2019, EU Parliament's competent Committee on Maghreb Countries launched a stern Warning, in substance, that the People of one among the  Countries which are Closest to Europe, (Both Historically, GeoPoliticaly and by Recent Policy Decisions),  have an Urgent and Serious Need to Prepare Well the Crucial, forthcoming, Presidential and Pariamentarian, Elections of 2019, Because, Otherwise, in Practice, they Risk to have No Real Choice between Alternative Policies, (See Infra), Contrary to what is an elementary Principle in any real Democracy.

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Tunisia notoriously is the Cradle of "Arab Spring", the Country with a "Model" Constitution since 2014 (See Infra), Proud to have an Ancient Civilisation since the 8th Century Before Christ, which Spread at Both Sides : North and South of the Mediterranean Sea during the 3rd and 2nd Centuries BC, (f.ex. also in Sicily, Corsica, Balear Islands, Sardaigne, Gibraltar, Spain, etc), while Hannibal notoriously crossed the Swiss Alps Mountains, reaching even Rome's surrounding area. After becoming the Precious "Grenary" of the Roman Empire, in a Strategic position Later Revendicated even by the Byzantine Empire, the Normands, France, and various others in the Past, and, following National Independence and Modernisation under President Bourguiba, Tunis Hosted UNO's World Internet Forum (after Geneva, and before Athens) at the Beginning of 2000ies, while Tunisia recently Compeets with Morocco for the Most Linked to EU/CoE among South Mediterranean Countries, and its NGOs were Recently Awarded the prestigious NOBEL Peace Prize on 2015.

 

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So that several MEPs' Denunciations of current Risks for a "Silent", Abstentionist 2/3 Majority of Tunisian People to be Obliged to have No real Choice soon, but to Fall in the Hands of one or another, more or less Radical, "Islamist" Party, pushed by Less of a 1/3 Minority, linked to Controversial "Muslim Brotherhood" (often accused even for Terrorism), and reportedly subordinated to the Foreign Influence of the (even more Controversial) ...Turkish President Tayip Erdogan's oppressive regime, (etc), as if Tunisia had Fallen Back in the Medieval Era of a mere Subordinate Local Part of the Former Othoman-Turk Empire, naturally provokes serious Concerns to European politicians, who Urged Today for EU Help (including, mainly Economic) to a Democratic Tunisia, (See Infra).

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 - It all Started with an Announcement, by the EU Chief Observer on Tunisia, and EU Parliament's vice-President, Italian MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo, from the Biggest Political Party in the New Government in Rome, (the "5 Stars Movement", Member of the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" Group in EU Parliament),  who spoke about a "Strong Will" by the Tunisian Parliament to "Ensure" an "Operational and Independent" Institutional Framework, particularly "for the Presidential Elections of 2019", in order "not to Call in Question the Trust on the Constitution"" :

 

-"A Model Text", of "High Quality", since the Historic Reform of "2014", in the Country which is the Birthplace of the "Arab Spring", he topically reminded.((omp., inter alia, f.ex. : the Replies to "Eurofora"s Questions by the President of the Tunisian Constituent Assembly, Ben Jafaar, as early as since already 2012, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/tunisianrevolutionideasondemocracy.html, but also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/sarkozymediterraneanrenaissance.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/egyptetunisiangos.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/laurenstunisiamoroccodemocracyforum.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/tunisiaconsuloneufaireconomyandconstitution.html etc)

 

 

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 => - For that purpose, among others,  a "Constitutional Court" is due to "be Up and Running" Soon, in order "to Ensure full Compliance" with the Constitution, and help for any relevant "Crisis to be Resorbed", while EU Chief Observer, EU Parliament's vice-President Castaldo has already scheduled to personally "Go to Tunisia on July" 2018.

 

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The Occasion to Open a Debate in EU Parliament on the forthcoming, Crucial Parliamentary and Presidential Tunisian Elections of 2019 in Tunisia, was given, Today, by a scheduled Discussion of a "Report on the Local Elections", recently held in Tunisia on May 2018, which served as a real-time Testbed to take the pulse of the Political Life in that Key Country nowadays, (Comp. Infra).


- Thus, inter alia, f.ex., MEPs Observed that, while 42% of the Population is Under - 34 Years Old, and Many Young Candidates had been among those Standing to be Elected in 2018, Nevertheless,  at a National Level, Country-Wide, the Turnout of Young People in order to Vote in these Elections was particularly Low. This could be due also to the Fact that 30% of Young People in Tunisia are Graduates, but Jobless, and this might impact also on the Next Elections, as a French MEP pointed out.


+ But, Moreover, it was Only about 1/3 (One Third) of the Registered Voters who actually Casted their Vote in the Ballot Box on 2018, while the Tunisian "People are Fed up with the Political Class" of the Establishment in general, as EU Parliament's vice-President Castaldo had already observed from the outset.


- Even if he Noted, as far as the Conditions in which those Local Elections were held, that, despite "some" secondary problems, in general, they were "a Real Step Forward" for Democracy in Tunisia, (especially Compared to the Past, and  considering also the Fact that the relevant Law on Local DeCentralisation had been Just Adopted, Shortly Before the Elections).


=> But their Outcome presents "2 Problems", Critically observed another MEP : First, it shows that "Democracy is still Fragile" in Tunisia, Because "2/3 of the People Abstained". Moreover, those who Snaped Most of the Votes were from an "Islamist Party close to (the Turkish President) Erdogan", he pointed out. And this even included "a Preacher who has been OutLawed in France, Banned even in Egypt : his own Country, and put at a "Wanted" List by InterPol. I.e. something which "gives you the Shivers !"


>>> Therefore, "Tunisia, which is, perhaps, the Only Country in that area that has a Chance to Activate Democracy, Must get Help from EU Parliament", he concluded.


+ AnOther (Lady) MEP denounced also the Fact that a "Leading" Candidate in a Major List on 2018 had been "Campaigning Against the Celibacy of Women", while, "in the HeadQuarters" of a Major Political Party, "Only Men were visible", while, on the Contrary, "All Women were Hidden Behind a Screen !". In consequence, "we (EU) must be Carefull against any hypocritical Double-Talk" and "Vigilant", she urged.


=> That's why in Tunisia, "the Fight Against Political Islam" is linked with Efforts to Help its "Economy", and calls for "a New Economic Development", and this should, normally, "Incite EU Commission" to act, stressed in substance anOther MEP. But, "is EU Commission really Playing the Game", or, perhaps, "Tunisia might be the Victim" of 1 or 2 Commissioners' Policy ?, he Questioned, while Urging to "Re-Balance" EU's policies, in this regard.


- Indeed, even "in Europe, Democracy wasn't Built in just 4 Years" (i.e. as, for Tunisia, between the New Constitution of 2014 and the Local Elections of 2018 : Comp. Supra), "but We too Needed even several Decades", pointed out anOther MEP, Concluding that "EU must Help Tunisia", "particularly in Financial terms", and "Be Present in the Tunisian Economy".


- "EU Must be Vigilant", because we Already shaw Abstention Grow in Morocco on 2016, and now "Fragilise Democracy in Tunisia" on 2018, observed anOther MEP, who Urged for "Europe to Help Tunisia" on Time, in the current run up to the "Important Parliamentarty and Presidential Elections of 2019".


 - Particularly since a "Worrying Division" surfaces when State "Power is at Stake", especially by a "Political Islam", "Historically Close to "Muslim Brothers", close to Erdogan, i.e. Turkey", that MEP too Warned.


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>>> Thus, "those currently in Power in Tunisia, should Not be Afraid to have Other, Democratic Interlocutors", and, instead of "Muzzling" several parts of the Country's "Civil Society", they'd Better enter in Dialogue with them, (f.ex., "Trade Unions", "NGOs", etc).

 

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- In this regard, the Head of EU Parliament's Election Observation Delegation for Tunisia, Experienced Spanish ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxela, observed, However, that "about 1.000 Electoral Lists" were made by "Small Parties", and "the Biggest Group (of Candidates) were Independents". (Even if several were "Not Really Independents", but, in Fact, linked to "Big Political Parties", which attempted to "get around" the Law about ..."Women's Participation", as also Castaldo had observed, who had called them "Fake Civil Society Lists").


+ But it's also "Women (who) are an Important factor", he noted, Pointing at the potential "Role of Women" also "as a Guarantee of Democracy" : Particularly "Tunisian Women will Not let be Abused" by anyone !


 -  As for "the Army, it's pro-Democracy, and at the orders of the Government", Fisas Ayxela added.


- However, "the Problem is that Secular politicians are still Divided", while "some Personalities of the Ancient Regime re-surfaced' at the latest Vote, EU Parliament's Election Observation team's Head regretted.

 

- Meanwhile,  "the Situation is Not Easy at (Neighbouring) Libya", with more than "1 Million of Refugees", and "a List of Moderates, but also with Radicalized" politicians, in Addition to "Difficulties at the Borders of (the other Neighbouring Country) Algeria", including even Terrorism, he Warned.


=> Thus, we'd better see, in Tunisia, several "Real Independents", possibly, enter in some kind of "Coalitions", the Mainstream MEP concluded in substance.


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 - The President of EU Parliament's Delegation to Maghreb Countries, MEP Inés Ayala Sender, from the Governing Socialist Party in Portugal, observed, in fine, that "a Handicap" for the Latest, 2018 Local Elections was the Fact that too "Many People were Selected for numerous (Electoral) Lists", while, on the Contrary, they had "a Low Turnout".


>>> Moreover, "If Both the 2 Major Parties refer to a Religious Manifestos", then, in real practice, "there is No Alternative" for the People of Tunisia !", she Denounced.


=> Therefore, someone needs "to Give to the People a Real Choice" on 2019, ("if not, they would disengage" from mainstream Politics), President Ayala Sender urged.


- In this regard, she observed that, even if it had been proven in 2018 to be "Difficult for Young People to Mobilize" (Comp. Supra), Nevertheless, there was also an "Encouraging" Development, in the Fact that there were "Many Independent Lists" (Comp. Supra), and, therefore, "New Candidates may come in" on 2019, including "Many (former) Independents".


- Thus, in substance, "the Challenge is How We (i.e. the EU) can Support those People", she resumed.


>>> And, "Now, that we (EU) are currently Opening the Fight over the Multi-Annual Financial Perspectives", including with "New Aides extended during many Years", etc.,

 

=> in order to "Prepare for the (Tunisian, Presidential and Parliamentary) Elections of Next Year (2019), "it's Important for the EU to Give some Clear and Robust Signals to Tunisia !", the President of EU Parliament's competent Committee concluded.

 

 

(../..)



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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send, Earlier, to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap)

 

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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  


    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
---------------------
French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...
---------------------------------------

- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".


- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...


    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
-----------------------
    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.

Polls

2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?

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